WASHINGTON, Oct. 7 (Xinhua) -- Arab states such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar have refused to provide heavier weapons to the Syrian rebels partially because Washington fears that such weapons would end up in the hands of terrorists, the New York Times reported on Sunday.
Some Arab states have been funneling money and small arms to Syria's rebels for months but have refused to provide heavier weapons, like shoulder-fired missiles, that "could allow opposition fighters to bring down government aircraft, take out armored vehicles and turn the war's tide," said the newspaper, quoting officials from both Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
"As a result, the rebels have just enough weapons to maintain a stalemate, the war grinds on and more jihadist militants join the fray every month," said the report.
The report, quoting Saudi officials, said that the United States was not barring these countries from providing shoulder- fired missiles, but warning about the risks, while at the same time, the Saudis and the Qataris said they hoped to convince their allies that those risks could be overcome.
The Obama administration has said that it is helping the Syrian rebels but not providing them with weapons. Analysts believe that the administration will be more careful about arming the Syrian opposition after the U.S. ambassador in Libya was killed in Benghazi last month, possibly by members of former rebels in the north African country.
The United States provided Libya's rebels with lethal weapons during the process of toppling the country's former leader Muammar Gaddafi last year. Some suspect that some of those weapons have ended up in the hands of Islamist extremists in Libya.